Filmed in Edinburgh and Dumbarton.

This video was filmed at Dumbarton castle on the River Clyde and Arthur Seat in Edinburgh.
Taliesin was a bard (court poet) in the 'old north' of the British isles (Yr Hen Ogledd). He is
recorded in several historical sources as having lived in the late 6th century. Taliesin wrote in
Cumbric, an early form of Welsh, at that time a common language in (what is now) the north of
England and much of Scotland.
The majority of his surviving works that can be claimed as authentic, are praise poems to a King
called Urien of Rheged and his son Owain. In these poems modern Scottish locations feature
prominently. Edinburgh (Din Eidyn) Dumbarton rock (Âl-Clud), Troon and Brechin ( Brychan).
Kings of Pictland (Prydyn) are also mentioned. Prydyn, the Welsh/Cumbric word for Pictland, was
perhaps how native peoples north of the Forth and Clyde viewed themselves.
Yet it was the old Brythonic kingdoms of central and southern Scotland, to which Taliesin seems to
have returned again and again. The Gododdin (Roman name Votadini) who lorded over the
Lothians and eastern Borders from their capital at Din Eidyn (Eidyn's castle). The Strathclyde
Britons, whose kings controlled the Clyde valley and territories from Loch Lomond to Ayrshire
from their headquarters atop Âl-Clud (rock of the Clyde). Not forgetting Taliesin's beloved
Rheged, which once stretched from South Ayrshire over the Solway into Cumbria and possibly as
far south east as north Yorkshire.
The time of Taliesin is generally seen as a golden age for the northern Brythonic kingdoms.
Decisive campaigning by King Urien and his allies halted the advancing Anglo-Saxons, at least for
a while. Taliesin and his next generation contemporary Aneirin (author of Y Gododdin) were
perhaps the original bards. For this reason alone they deserve to be remembered. In Wales today,
Taliesin is still referred to as Taliesin Ben Beirdd ("Taliesin, Chief of Bards" or chief of poets)
The inspiration for this project comes from the Mabinogion, a collection of the earliest prose
literature from the British isles compiled in the 12th - 13th century from earlier oral traditions by
medieval Welsh writers. By then Yr Hen Ogledd (the old north) was no more, Strathclyde, the last
of the northern Brythonic kingdoms, being absorbed into the new Scottish nation sometime in the
11th century. The works of Taliesin and Aneirin survived though through the bards. In the mid 19th
Century the full collection of the Mabinogion was published for the first time by Lady Charlotte
Guest, an English artstocrat and wife of a rich Welsh iron manufacturer, bilingually in both Welsh
and English, to much acclaim across Europe.
As a proud Scotsman I find tales of Yr Hen Ogledd (the old north) utterly fascinating, possibly
because it was a historical period we were taught nothing about at school! Recent publications by
modern Scottish historians and writers like Tim Clarkson and Alistair Moffat have helped fuel this
passion and guide me on to the works of Aneirin and Taliesin. To read recognisable Scottish place
names in these ancient poems was a revelation. Remember this was only a century or so after the
Romans left southern Britain, before the coming of the Vikings, before the first Gaelic Kings of
Alba, before Scotland became Scotland really. Yet it was a colourful and dramatic period, celtic and
vibrant, the legacy of which lives on in Scotland's DNA today.
The Mabinogion has been another revelation. Never really considered myself to be 'a word man'.
However I found these beautiful tales from our ancient celtic past of shap-shifters, reincarnation and
journeying souls hugely inspirational and enjoyable; deserving, perhaps, of promotion in my native
land. Fortunately my good friend and increasingly frequent artistic collaborator Eric Clark agreed.
This video and soundtrack is the result. We hope you enjoy. For more information please check out
Eric's web-site http://thelostart.co.uk/ and my own http://www.jimithepiper.co.uk/ Thank you.
Jimi McRae
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